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Had multiple infestations at one point. Carpet Beetle Hair Reaction Question...

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  1. PANewBugger

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Tue May 24 2011 14:20:17
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    Hello - was wondering if anyone can provide some info on carpet beetle hair reactions?

    Last summer, we had bed bugs (and rat mites, and PCO also found carpet beetles...HORRIBLE experience that I has left many emotional and physical scars). We had 6 chemical treatments but were never convinced our infestations were cleared.

    Earlier this year, we moved cross country, and to help alleviate our fears of bringing anything with us, we discarded all of our furniture. When we moved, we hired bed bug canine team (2 dogs, 2 handlers) who did hit on 1 box, which we discarded with the clothing it contained (not recommended by dog team but for us, keeping anything that might be tainted wasn't worth the fear). Since then, we've had canine team come to our minimally furnished place several times since we're so paranoid and cannot go through another infestation. Each time, we've been cleared.

    When we were living in our infested place, it wasn't uncommon for me to find small, almost slice like marks on my chest area. They never itched and had a burning sensation, at times rather painful. These marks started again (just found a few on my chest). I've been sleeping in a polar fleece top that I did wear a few times at the infested apartment (since then, it's been washed and dried multiple times ).

    What do carpet beetle hair reactions typically look like? Is it possible for carpet beetle hairs to remain in clothing even after multiple washings? I'm trying to remain calm and level headed that we don't have bed bugs again, but the fear is starting to overwhelm me. Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!!

  2. PANewBugger

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Wed May 25 2011 14:24:01
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    Anyone have experience with skin reactions to carpet beetle hairs that they can share, and know if they do or don't come out of clothing after washing and drying?? I've checked everything for typical bed bug signs (since we did have them, I have a pretty good idea what to look for) and thankfully, found nothing like that yet. Hoping to figure out what's going on here and really trying not to freak out.

  3. twoeyesclosed

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Wed May 25 2011 15:15:54
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    Hi PA,

    In the past month and a half or so I've gotten a few alarming bites/reactions. Based on the responses to my posts, it appears that I *might* be having reactions to carpet beetles.

    I base that on the fact that I am getting reactions under clothes (often two layers or so), and the reactions seem to increase when I've had exposure to static electricity (i.e. laundry fresh from dryer, etc). I also do NOT get bites/reactions in any exposed areas (face, neck, arms, hands), which it seems to me like bedbugs would go for. Why would the burrow under my comforter AND under my pajamas AND under my nylon (very closefitting) undies to bite me on my hip, when they have a nice exposed juicy arm to munch on?

    Also, I don't have any blood streaks/fecal matter/castings/live sightings. I know that a month isn't enough to expect to see these things, but that's something to consider, still. I did, however, find plenty of carpet beetle larvae/shells tucked into my mattress, under my fitted sheets. Also a few live adults in my bed.

    After the initial 8 reactions in one evening, when I still thought I might have bedbugs, I washed all of my bedding and vacuumed in my room. I still got one reaction that night. I think that washing the sheets helped, but the static electricity associated with drying for a really long time (I was trying to kill any bedbugs in the sheets!) probably caused that one reaction. So even if you wash, you still might have a hair around or two. Plus they can get blown around in the air.

    The reactions look a lot like the photos posted of confirmed bed bug bites. They are sort of pale hives with a red dot to start, mildly itchy, then get ridiculously itchy and welty for 1-2 days and then fade to a non-itchy dark spot. They say you can't judge what bit you/caused you to have a reaction based on bites. I think this probably applies to carpet beetles as well as bed bugs.

    Since I thought I might have carpet beetles I have been trying to limit the spread of the hairs around my room, and limiting static electricity as well. I have been spritzing down my bedsheets at night with water, and covering my skin head to toe with a thick moisturizing lotion. If I vacuum with my big vacuum or dustbuster, I spritz the area down with water afterwards. So far, no reactions. Even when I come back from a few nights away, I don't get any reactions/bites. And if they were there, I'd think that the bedbugs would be hungry and deprived and eager to bite if I was away for awhile

    You could try my approach to see if that helps the marks go away, if you think it might be CB.

    I still might have BB, I guess, but I'm leaning towards CB at this point.

    Anyway, that's my experience, I hope you have CB and not BB!

  4. PANewBugger

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Thu May 26 2011 11:25:51
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    Thank you!!! I hope that you also don't have bed bugs and it's carpet beetles. It's soooo upsetting not knowing, and I just don't think I can handle another bed bug infestation. I woke up this morning with another slice like bite that burns like crazy. I'm going to have a K9 team come again - at the very least, I'm hoping they can give me some peace of mind about what's going on here. And in the meantime, I'll try some of your cleaning tips.

  5. twoeyesclosed

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Thu May 26 2011 12:41:24
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    Good luck!!

    You may want to try wearing natural fibers and not the fleece. I was wearing clingy nylon/polyester undies when I got a bunch of vicious reactions underneath, on my hip/butt area. I think the static may have attracted the hairs. I don't know about you, but fleece always made me ultra-staticky, especially in dry environments.

    I've been wearing a cotton tee and cotton pjs and cotton undies to bed at night (with tons of a petrolatum-based moisturizer slathered over every inch of skin, plus the spritzed-down bedsheets). So far, so good!

    Ultimately I'm going to have to do a deep cleaning of my room to get rid of all the residual carpet beetle hairs (dusting...vacuuming...possibly carpet shampooing...removal of all extra clothes in my closet and the like). But so far my stopgap measures have been working. I'll report back at some point once I pass a few more weeks, by which time I'm hoping I'll be absolutely sure that I don't have bed bugs!

    Oh, and I've been killing adults whenever I see them (no need for more of their itchy larva around); I've also dusted a very very light layer of DE under my bed. I'm hoping this will keep larva out of my bed, which was possibly the problem before.

    Good luck to both of us!

  6. NewBlood

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Thu May 26 2011 12:52:49
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    Hey PANewBugger! I am allergic to carpet beetle hairs, so I can describe my reactions to ya.

    What do carpet beetle hair reactions typically look like? Is it possible for carpet beetle hairs to remain in clothing even after multiple washings? I'm trying to remain calm and level headed that we don't have bed bugs again, but the fear is starting to overwhelm me. Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!!

    So before I begin - I feel that I should mention that people react to things differently, so my reactions may not be anything like your reactions. With that said...

    My carpet beetle hair reactions come in two different types which I aptly named the 'bite' reaction and the 'many needles' reaction.

    The 'bite' reaction for me begins out as a small red bump/dot. It's a little hard and doesn't itch very much. Then, at some random point in the day, the bite will begin to itch alot (I'd give it a 5 on an itchiness scale of 1-10). If I scratch the mark it will swell and look like a mosquito bite for about 30 minutes - after which time it will shrink back down to it's 'normal' look and never itch again. These bites also flake away given enough time - and remain on me anywhere from 1 hour to 1 week.

    The 'many needles' reaction for me resembles a cluster of small red dots - like I've been stabbed by a tiny needle 50+ times in a very small area - and it itches immediately (5 again on the itchy scale). The reaction tends to vanish after two days. I usually get these on my upper arms only.

    Anyone have experience with skin reactions to carpet beetle hairs that they can share, and know if they do or don't come out of clothing after washing and drying??

    My carpet beetle allergies are actually DELAYED. This is very annoying - but if I was in an area with a known carpet beetle threat (my attic for example) then I know that I'll have an allergic reaction some hours afterwards - but never at the time I'm in the area. As such I can't say that the hairs do or don't come out of clothing - but I believe the hairs are very fine and tiny - so they can fit between the weave of some clothing types.

    The hairs can also be floating around in the atmosphere - so washing clothing alone wouldn't solve the issue. If you are going into bed bug panic mode and doing lots of clothes washing/drying and cleaning then odds are you're sending the hairs into the atmosphere too (which will cause more reactions, which feed the bed bug panic system folks like us seem to have, which means MORE cleaning - and the spiral continues), not sure if you're doing this but I just thought I'd mention it.

    Anyway PANewBugger, I hope it is just carpet beetles that are plaguing you - I like my little guys now because they remind me that I haven't had bed bugs yet: In so much that I discovered it was these wonderful carpet beetles causing my 'bites' - so when I get the bites now I don't fly off the handle tearing apart the house looking for invisible bed bugs)

  7. PANewBugger

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Thu May 26 2011 13:15:17
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    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!! While my skin reaction seems to be quite different (but as stated on this site by others and you guys, not everyone will react the same), your descriptions and input are so incredibly helpful. My bites also flake away with time, usually after a week or so. They don't itch but really burn (drives me crazy!). I threw away the polar fleece that I was sleeping in and am going try not to go too bug crazy yet. Left message for K9 team to come again for another inspection.

  8. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Thu May 26 2011 13:18:20
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    Hi,

    I have many times found that the removal of shoes and socks while in the property removes the attractiveness of carpet beetle hairs and thus is a fast remedy.

    It is however not a long term solution which is obviously to remove all traces of the allergen and physical irritant.

    Just always remember to mist the carpet / vacuumed area with deionized water to reduce any charge build up that can occur with the use of the cleaner itself.

    With regards the OP's questions:

    What do carpet beetle hair reactions typically look like?

    They like most insect bites are too variable to use as a diagnostic. I work on the principle that if I find no bedbug signs after a fingertip search and all I find is carpet beetle larval skins then its likely to be those. It's more of a rule one thing out and check the next process, when negative for bedbugs we look at other possibilities.

    Is it possible for carpet beetle hairs to remain in clothing even after multiple washings?

    Yes although it is less likely to be the case if a biological washing powder is used as the enzyme will often digest foreign organic matter. If you have no issues with biological powders its worth using them particularly if you wash at lower temperatures.

    Hope that helps.

    David Cain
    Bed Bugs Limited

    In accordance with the AUP and FTC (legal requirements) I openly disclose my vested interest in Passive Monitors as the inventor and patent holder. Since 2009 they have become an integral part in how we resolve bedbug infestations in domestic and commercial settings. The patent numbers are GB2463953 and GB2470307.
  9. PANewBugger

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Thu May 26 2011 14:17:27
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    I'm pretty sure it's not bed bugs again but the fear, worry and anxiety have been eating at me and my husband. I haven't found any fecal spots, blood, etc. I had K9 teams come to our new place when we first arrived and bought some new furniture, had 2 k9 teams come during day of move and had them inspect each box, and after, had k9 teams sweep the apartment a few more times. Plus, I've been checking everything each morning, and so far, it's just the marks that I have woken up to. Strange thing is that they're in the exact same spot as old reactions received when we lived in the infested apartment. We brought no furniture with us so I'm hoping that some carpet beetle hairs were transported with us during our move. Thank you again to everyone for sharing their info! I'll look for a biological washing solution for our clothes and see if that makes any difference. After k9 team comes for yet another inspection (I'm probably one of their best customers!), I'll let you know the outcome.

  10. Mentalmama

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    Posted 1 month ago
    Wed Jul 16 2014 20:53:18
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    Please, can someone tell me what is and where to buy biological washing powder? I would like to try and use it in our laundry to help get rid of carpet beetle larva hairs. And how do you get demonized water to spray on carpets to reduce electric charge?


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